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Category: Nursing Home Abuse

Background Checks Still Lacking in Nation’s Nursing Homes

By Brian Chase on October 12, 2012 - 1 comment

A recent investigation of nursing homes by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed that conducting background checks would have likely flagged some but not all nursing aides who were later disciplined. According to an NPR report, the investigation looked at cases of 1,611 nursing aides who were disciplined for abuse, neglect and theft at nursing homes in 2010. About 20 percent of these aides had prior criminal convictions that would have surfaced in a simple background check.

The article states that on the one hand, it is evident that a straightforward background check could have prevented those with criminal records from working in a nursing home, putting vulnerable senior citizens at risk. On the other hand, it is also troubling that 80 percent of those who were ultimately disciplined could not have been screened with background checks.

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Why Signing an Arbitration Agreement with a Nursing Home Can Be Problematic

By Brian Chase on October 9, 2012 - No comments

A recent article in The Washington Post discusses the issues involving arbitration agreements, which nursing homes require residents or their families to sign at the time of admission. The implications of such an agreement are definitely far-reaching. For instance, signing an arbitration agreement with a nursing home means that even in the case of a resident suffering an injury due to negligence on the part of its staff members, he or she agrees to bring the dispute before a professional arbitrator rather than file a lawsuit for negligence or wrongful death.

While, accepting the terms of the agreement is often stated to be mandatory for admission to the facility, many nursing homes apparently have adopted the practice of placing the arbitration agreement documents quietly inside the admissions package, without drawing much attention to it. As a result, many seniors or family members who place their loved ones into nursing homes don’t even know about the existence of such a document until they are faced with a situation and find out the hard way.

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Nurses Face Felony Charges in Connection with Woman’s Nursing Home Death

By Brian Chase on March 20, 2012 - No comments

California’s attorney general has charged two nurses with felony elder abuse in connection with the death of 77-year-old Johnnie Esco on March 7, 2008. According to a news report in The Sacramento Bee, Esco died after a two-week stay at the El Dorado skilled nursing facility in Placerville, which was owned at the time by Horizon West Healthcare. The company sold its 27 nursing homes last year to Plum Healthcare Group, which is based in San Marcos.

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Report: Oversight Lacking in California’s Nursing Homes

By Brian Chase on March 8, 2012 - No comments

A new federal report released this week by the Department of Health and Human Services states that California’s nursing home inspectors fall short when it comes to following up on their own investigative findings. According to an article by California Watch, the federal department, which oversees Medicare and Medicaid, identified shortcomings by the California Department of Public Health, which inspects the state’s 1,150 nursing homes.

The report talks about serious cases of nursing home neglect, on which state officials failed to follow up. One example was a case where inspectors discovered that maggots were coming out of a resident’s ear. Federal officials say that in such cases, federal overseers are limited in their ability to take action. The power to do that rests in the hands of the state department, which federal officials say, does a poor job with enforcement.

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California Nursing Homes Fined for Inadequate Care

By Brian Chase on February 23, 2012 - No comments

Downey Care Center, Fountain View Subacute and Nursing Center, and Motion Picture & Television Hospital have all been fined for fatal incidents that resulted from nursing home neglect. According to an Associated Press news report, the nursing home fines total $235,000 and the facilities have 10 days to contest their fines. Officials say all three facilities were directly responsible for incidents that occurred on their premises.

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Nursing Home Fined $100,000 for Resident’s Death

By Brian Chase on February 3, 2012 - No comments

The California Department of Public Health has slapped a $100,000 fine on a care facility in Daly City for nursing home neglect. According to a news report in The Associated Press, Seton Medical Center is facing the most severe penalty allowed under state law in connection with the death of an 81-year-old woman. Officials say, a nurse at the facility left the cap on a breathing tube that was inserted into the woman’s trachea. The woman suffocated and died. State officials said the nursing home received the maximum penalty because it did not have a policy in place for properly inserting the device, which is known as a “T-piece.”

I offer my deepest sympathies to the family members of this elderly patient who died as a result of negligence. They will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Serious Deficiencies in Nursing Homes

More than 1.5 million people live in nursing homes nationwide. That number has only been increasing and is expected to go up in the coming years. According to the Government Accountability Office, about one-fifth of nursing homes in the nation were cited for serious deficiencies – those that jeopardized the life of the patient – in 2008. The GAO report cited poor quality of care such as worsening pressure sores or untreated weight loss in a high number of nursing homes. These deficiencies, the report stated, puts nursing home residents in “immediate jeopardy,” which means that they are at risk of death or serious injury.

Failure to Meet Standards

Nursing homes are required to meet federal standards as a condition of participating in Medicare and Medicaid, which cover more than two-thirds of their residents at a cost of more than $75 billion a year. In this particular case, the nursing home in Daly City seems to have committed a fatal error because they did not have a policy in place when it came to inserting a T-piece.

A number of incidents involving nursing home neglect or nursing home abuse occur due to understaffing in nursing homes. When care facilities hire fewer staff and keep untrained or unqualified personnel on staff, because they are cheaper, and overwork them, it creates an environment that is ripe for abuse and neglect. Such situations stem from nursing homes putting profits ahead of the people they are supposed to serve.

Compensation for Victims’ Families

A family that has lost a loved one as a result of nursing home neglect can file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault facility. Victims’ families in such cases would be well advised to contact an experienced California personal injury lawyer, who has experience successfully handling similar cases and holding nursing homes accountable for their wrongdoing. The best nursing home abuse law firms always offer a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation to victims or their families.

 


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